The 13-episode Japanese anime television series Angel Beats! is based on an original concept by Jun Maeda with original character design by Na-Ga; both Maeda and Na-Ga are from the visual novel brand Key known for producing such titles as Kanon, Air, and Clannad. It is directed by Seiji Kishi and produced by the animation studio P.A.Works and production company Aniplex. Chief animator Katsuzō Hirata is also the character designer and the screenplay was written by Maeda. The music, composed by Maeda and the group Anant-Garde Eyes, is produced by Aniplex with Satoki Iida as the sound director. The plot takes place in the afterlife and follows the main protagonist Otonashi, a boy who lost his memories of his life after dying. He is enrolled into the afterlife school and meets a girl named Yuri who invites him to join the Afterlife Battlefront (死んだ世界戦線 Shinda Sekai Sensen (SSS)?)—an organization she leads which fights against God. The SSS fight against the student council president Angel, a girl with supernatural powers.
The series aired between April 3 and June 26, 2010 on the CBC television network in Japan. It aired at later dates than CBC on BS11, MBS, RKB, TBS, and TUT. The first episode was previewed on March 22, 2010 to a selected number of people who participated in a lottery held that earlier that month. The series was released on seven BD/DVD compilation volumes between June 23 and December 22, 2010 in limited and regular editions. Three drama CDs, written by Maeda and performed by the anime's cast, were released with the first, fourth and sixth limited edition BD/DVD volumes. The seventh BD/DVD volume featured an original video animation (OVA) episode, as well as a bonus short which serves as another epilogue to the series. A second OVA episode was included with a Blu-ray Disc box set, released in Japan on June 24, 2015. Sentai Filmworks licensed the anime, and along with distributor Section23 Films, released the series on BD/DVD on July 26, 2011. Siren Visual licensed the anime for Australia and New Zealand. The series has also been licensed in the United Kingdom by Manga Entertainment and released the series on BD/DVD on June 25, 2012.
The series makes use of two pieces of theme music: one opening theme and one ending theme. The opening theme is "My Soul, Your Beats!" by Lia, and a remixed version sung by LiSA was used for episode four. The ending theme is "Brave Song" by Aoi Tada. Several insert theme songs by the in-story band Girls Dead Monster are also used, featuring songs sung by Marina and LiSA. These include: "Crow Song" (episode one), "Alchemy" and "My Song" (episode three), "Thousand Enemies" (episode five), and "Shine Days" and "Ichiban no Takaramono" (一番の宝物 My Most Precious Treasure?) (episode 10). "Ichiban no Takaramono" is also used in episode 13 sung by Karuta.
|Title||Animation directors||Original air date|
|01||"Departure"||Katsuzō Hirata||April 3, 2010|
|Yuzuru Otonashi wakes up in the realm of the afterlife with amnesia. He quickly meets Yuri Nakamura, while she aims a rifle at the student council president, Angel. Yuri offers Otonashi to join the SSS to fight against Angel,but Otonashi refuses and talks to Angel, who tells him that in the afterlife, everyone is dead. Otonashi demands Angel for proof, and then Angel stabs him in the stomach. Afterwards, he is killed a hundred times by a halberd armed Noda, and finally, he wakes up in the SSS room, where he meets the main SSS members, who are deciding what to call the battlefront. There, he becomes a member of SSS, and Yuri explains to Otonashi about the afterlife and the why they must fight Angel to survive in the world. Later that night, the SSS commences "Operation Tornado" to steal meal tickets from the "non-player characters" (NPCs). An all girl band called Girls Dead Monster, who is fighting with the SSS, performs a concert to distract the NPCs, while some members use weapons to fight against Angel. After the operation, the SSS retreats into the cafeteria and spends the meal tickets. During meal, Otonashi tries to make sense of everything that has happened.|
|02||"Guild"||Kōsuke Kawazura||April 10, 2010|
|Since the SSS is low on supplies, Yuri decides to lead seven SSS members to the Guild far below the surface where SSS allies make the weapons the SSS uses. While the Guild initially disables various traps set for Angel, the SSS find them reactivated due to Angel's advance on the Guild. Yuri and the others attempt to navigate through the traps, but in the end, only Yuri and Otonashi survive. While taking a short rest, Yuri tells Otonashi how her three younger siblings were murdered after burglars entered their home while their parents were gone, which is Yuri's impetus for fighting against the cruel fate God gave her. By the time they arrive at the Guild, Angel is almost there, so Yuri decides to destroy the Guild with explosives. The Guild members, led by Chaa, decide to go along with Yuri's plan and relocate to the previous Guild location which has been out of use for a long time. When Angel arrives at the Guild, Yuri buys them time long enough to escape and make it to the old Guild where the Guild members immediately set to work.|
|03||"My Song"||Yūko Iwaoka, Toshihisa Kaiya||April 17, 2010|
|Yuri decides to have Girls Dead Monster distract Angel long enough to sneak into her room and crack the password on her computer, but Yuri does not think the new ballad called "My Song" the band's vocalist and guitarist Iwasawa wrote would be useful for the operation. While taking a break from shooting practice, Otonashi hears Girls Dead Monster playing and talks with Iwasawa while the band is taking a break. Iwasawa tells Otonashi how her parents used to always fight and music was her only escape. After she graduated high school and left home, however, an old head injury caused during her parents fighting lead to her death due to a stroke. When Yuri's operation begins, Girls Dead Monster start playing in the auditorium while the others, with the aide of the hacker Takeyama (who likes to be referred to by his username "Christ"), break into Angel's room and hack her computer. Girls Dead Monster are soon subdued by several teachers, but Iwasawa breaks free and begins playing "My Song", but disappears after she is finished, indicating that one does not necessarily have to obey what Angel says in order to disappear. The SSS learn that Angel is not getting her powers from God but is making them herself.|
|04||"Day Game"||Yūji Miyashita||April 24, 2010|
|With Iwasawa gone, Yui suggests she take Iwasawa's place as the vocalist, but the other SSS members do not agree. Yuri suggests that the SSS illegally participate in the upcoming baseball tournament and any SSS team which does worse than the NPC students will receive a punishment worse than death. Hinata starts with recruiting Otonashi, followed by Yui, Shiina, and Noda after failing to get several other more athletic members that already had teams. With still four players needed, Yui gets three NPC girls, who are fans of Yui's, to join their team. During the first round of the tournament, the SSS teams beat their NPC counterparts, but soon each one falls to Angel's team made up of members of the school baseball team until only Hinata's team is left. As the game is nearing its end, Hinata recalls how he missed a fly ball in a similar baseball game in life, and Otonashi believes that Hinata will disappear if they win the game. Just as Hinata is about to catch a pop fly and win the game, however, Yui comes from behind and puts Hinata in a strangle hold, and Angel's team wins as a result.|
|05||"Favorite Flavor"||Kōsuke Kawazura, Minotō Kyo, Kensuke Shu||May 1, 2010|
|During the exam period, Yuri wants to make Angel fail all her tests so as to make her lose her status in the school. For the plan to be a success, Otonashi manages to find out that Angel's real name is Kanade Tachibana. The SSS members create distractions to get Angel's and the NPCs attention so as to switch their fake answers with Angel's. When the results come out, Angel loses her position as student council president and is replaced by the vice president, Naoi. During another instance of "Operation Tornado", the SSS members observe Angel going to buy a meal ticket while ignoring Girls Dead Monster and the rest of the crowd in the cafeteria. Angel loses the ticket due to the operation's success and Otonashi coincidentally finds and uses it. Otonashi wonders if Angel could join the SSS now, but this receives negative responses by everyone else. Moments later, the new student council president arrives with a group of NPCs and tells the SSS they will be punished for their constant disobedience.|
|06||"Family Affair"||Tadashi Hiramatsu||May 8, 2010|
|After the SSS members are removed from the reflection room, Yuri suggests everyone try to create disturbances in class to see how far they can go without Naoi interfering, but Naoi comes after them anyway. Otonashi convinces Angel to accompany him to the cafeteria to eat the spicy mapo doufu, but Naoi arrives and throws them in a more secure reflection room for eating when it was not lunch. Shortly after, the SSS begin a battle between Naoi, who uses the NPCs as shields to prevent the SSS from attacking him or the NPCs, whom Naoi had hypnotized to make them cooperate. Yuri tells Otonashi via a walkie-talkie that she saw Naoi beating up NPCs, and that he is actually human. Angel agrees to break out of the room, but by the time she and Otonashi arrive at the battlefield, the SSS members have been massacred. After attempting to hypnotize Yuri, however, Otonashi attacks Naoi, who has a flashback about his unfair life. Naoi had to take his older twin brother's place after his death and became his father's apprentice in pottery, but eventually his father also died. Otonashi also discovers that whoever befriends Angel, disappears.|
|07||"Alive"||Yūko Iwaoka, Takehiko Matsumoto||May 15, 2010|
|With Naoi now being a new member of the SSS, Yuri decides to use use ability of Hypnotism to allow Otonashi to recover his memories. In a flashback of Otonashi's life, he reveals that he had no purpose in life. He worked very hard in multiple jobs instead of going to school to take care of his sickly younger sister, Hatsune, who was kept in a hospital. He would buy manga with what little free money he had, to give to his sister, not caring what he brought, or if they were of the same series or chapter. He worked even harder to take his sister out on Christmas, taking on more jobs. After sneaking her out of the hospital, he carries her to the main street to observe the Christmas lights. After her death, Otonashi realizes all he worked for, was a "thank you" from his sister, which he got everyday from her. This convinces him to work for a new purpose in his life, which was to help others. On a train to a university Otonashi was going to attend for the first time, after going back to school, he dies in an accident on the train. After the flashback, Otonashi realizes he died without ever accomplishing anything and cries. On a new day, the SSS members go fishing with Naoi and Angel. Angel catches the master of the river and chops it into several cuts using double Hand Sonics. The SSS members then serve the cuts to the ordinary students. Otonashi remembers his first name is Yuzuru and tells Angel to address him by that name while he addresses her by her first name, marking a close friendship.|
|08||"Dancer in the Dark"||Yūji Miyashita||May 22, 2010|
|The SSS try to defend themselves against the red-eyed Kanade, but it takes the original Kanade to stop her by stabbing her, only to get stabbed herself in the process. The SSS realize Kanade used her "harmonics" program to create a battle-oriented copy of herself when she sliced the huge fish from earlier, but the clone did not disappear. While Yuri uses Kanade's computer to find something to defeat the clone, the others spend time in class pretending to be good students while actually concentrating on other things. Yuri ends up rewriting "harmonics" so the next time the original Kanade uses it, the clones will be absorbed after ten seconds. After the original Kanade is kidnapped and taken deep underground to the Guild's old location, the SSS pursue. One by one, SSS members sacrifice themselves as they encounter more Angel clones on the way until only Yuri and Otonashi remain. At the bottom, Yuri fights the last clone and Otonashi goes to save the original. After she manages to activate "harmonics", the clone tells Otonashi that the ruthless clones that attacked the SSS all have their own consciousness. She questions with a smirk on what will happen if they were all to be absorbed at once. As the "absorb" program activates, the Angel clones return to the original and Kanade writhes and cries out in pain as Otonashi embraces her.|
|09||"In Your Memory"||Kanami Sekiguchi||May 29, 2010|
|Otonashi stays by Kanade's side while she is unconscious after absorbing the many ruthless Angels. The SSS decide to rewrite some of her programs as a temporary measure and wait to see what happens after she wakes up. Otonashi remembers everything about how he died. After the train accident, he and a handful of others were trapped in a tunnel with short supplies of food and water. Otonashi helped the injured with the assistance of a man named Igarashi. After a week trapped in the tunnel, Otonashi, feeling his life slipping away, registered as an organ donor on his ID card, which prompted the others to do the same. Otonashi died shortly after, moments before rescue workers managed to finally break through into the tunnel. After Kanade wakes up, she remarks that it is a miracle that her original self managed to overcome the other ruthless Angel personalities. Otonashi comes to realize Kanade's sole reason for existence is to help people move on by fulfilling any regret they had in life by giving them a chance to experience a normal youth. Otonashi decides to cooperate with Kanade so everyone can move on, but first he must learn more about their pasts. To this end, he requests that Kanade must fight once again against the SSS. Meanwhile, Angel is reinstated as the student council president, while Naoi returns to being the vice president. The rest of the SSS believe Kanade lost her memories of her time with them and has returned to how she was before. This, however, is the secret pact made between Otonashi and Kanade.|
|10||"Goodbye Days"||Yuriko Ishii, Kōsuke Kawazura, Misaki Suzuki||June 5, 2010|
Otonashi tells Kanade that the first person they should try to get to pass on is Yui because he believes her to have little left to fulfill, only to discover she has many things left she wants to do. This is because Yui was paralyzed in life from the neck down at a young age due to being hit by a car, leaving her unable to have a happy life. Otonashi manages to fulfill her wish of performing a German suplex after some practice, and another wish of scoring a goal single-handedly against five opponents (the so-called Goal of the Century"), though with some extra help from Kanade. Otonashi next tries to fulfill her wish of hitting a home run, but is unable to accomplish this after several days of trying. Yui's last wish is to get married, which prompts Hinata who overheard the conversation to say he will marry her. Despite Yui giving excuses about her being handicapped in life, Hinata promises that they would have been happy together had they met before they died. With her last wish fulfilled, Yui passes on. Hinata agrees to help Otonashi in allowing their friends to finally be happy and pass on. In the school hallway, Ōyama is attacked by a mysterious creature and Noda is able to fend it off. Yuri hears the report from Yusa who calls it a "shadow".
|11||"Change the World"||Heo Gi Dong, Kōsuke Kawazura, Gi Nam Kim||June 12, 2010|
|Hinata and Naoi argue about who should help Otonashi when a shadow monster suddenly attacks Naoi, but Otonashi and Hinata are able to destroy it in time. Yuri calls Kanade to a meeting to figure out if she is involved with the shadows, but the meeting is cut short when a group of shadows attack Noda, TK and Shiina. Yuri and the others jump in and everyone is safe, but Yuri notices during the battle that one of the NPCs transformed into a shadow. Fujimaki appears to relay that Takamatsu got devoured by one of the shadows as Ōyama helplessly looked on as Takamatsu was absorbed into the ground. Takamatsu later reappears, but is now an NPC whose soul has been eaten. Yuri calls an emergency meeting with all of the other SSS members, Yuri reveals she knew about Otonashi's plan of helping members pass on, and she tells everyone to think about passing on, lest they be eaten by the shadows. Yuri later reveals that Kanade is a human to Otonashi, Hinata and Naoi before going off by herself to discover the source of the shadows. Yuri deduces that someone must be turning NPCs into shadows and she heads to the computer room in the library, as it is the only viable place to do such an operation. She finds a man programming a computer who tells her someone keeps stealing computers and he was programming a new one. After the man leaves, Yuri searches for the method the thief used to take the computers and discovers a hidden passage that leads back into the Guild.|
|12||"Knockin' on Heaven's Door"||Katsuzō Hirata, Eiyō Kuragawa||June 19, 2010|
|As the girls of Girls Dead Monster and many other SSS members decide to pass on, Otonashi and the others continue to fight off the other shadows which are increasing in number, Matsushita has also returned though with a much lighter built. Meanwhile, Yuri explores the Guild and comes up against many shadows. She gets ensnared by one and becomes an NPC, but she manages to fight it and returns thanks to Otonashi, Kanade, Hinata and Naoi, who have come to aid her. While they fend off the shadows, Yuri comes across a computer room where all the stolen computers are, and she meets a strange boy who talks about the programmer of the Angel Player software, which manipulates the world. The boy tempts her with the prospect of being God of the world herself, but Yuri declines for the sake of her friends and destroys all the computers. As she rests from destroying them all, she has a vision of being forgiven by her siblings before waking up in the infirmary where Otonashi, Kanade, Hinata and Naoi are waiting.|
|13||"Graduation"||Kōsuke Kawazura, Yūji Miyashita, Misaki Suzuki||June 26, 2010|
|Three days after the shadows incident, only Otonashi, Yuri, Kanade, Hinata and Naoi remain, the others having already passed on. Per Kanade's idea, they hold a graduation ceremony, where they thank each other for their support. After the ceremony ends, Naoi takes his leave. Yuri makes her peace with Kanade before she leaves, followed shortly by Hinata. With Otonashi and Kanade left, Otonashi suggests that they could stay together to help others who come into the afterlife world, revealing in the process that he is in love with her. Kanade is hesitant to respond, as her one regret was never saying thanks to Otonashi, whose heart kept her alive in the real world due to the donor card he left behind when he died. Kanade thanks him and disappears in his arms, as Otonashi cries over the disappearance of his newfound love. Otonashi passes on shortly after. In an epilogue, in the world of the living, a girl resembling Kanade is humming "My Song" when a boy resembling Otonashi happens to pass by and recognizes the melody. When the girl turns to walk away, the boy chases after her to tap on her shoulder.|
Otonashi has become the next "Angel" and is now the student body president. Another human has entered the afterlife and makes a fuss during a test about the values of his life and why he should bother doing the test. Otonashi enters the room after his uproar and questions what he wants. The boy replies to stand up against Otonashi. Otonashi then smiles lightly and leaves the room. He can then be seen sitting in the student council room with a vase of flowers waiting.
This could be a continuation of the series or as the episode title might suggest it is an alternate ending. Jun Maeda also said in an interview that Otonashi would have no reason to stay in the after life without Kanade. This suggests that this is an alternate ending. Instead of saying "to be continued" after the credits it says "next stage". This opens speculation to what comes after this or a possible second season.
|OVA 1||"Stairway to Heaven"||December 22, 2010|
Yuri introduces a new operation to the SSS, known as Operation High Tension Syndrome. This Operation is designed to trick Angel into thinking that they are living successful school lives, but not disappearing. Her confusion will force her to visit God, and when she does, the SSS plans to follow her. From 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., all Anti-Angel members must conduct everything at high tension, which is to say, all activities will be performed to their fullest, i.e. yelling instead of talking, running down hallways, and chugging juice. If failure occurs, they are threatened with being forced to fast for an entire week, so they do as Yuri says to their fullest ability. Their high tension attitudes culminate in a sports festival where Shiina attacks Noda for having one of her kitten plushies attached to his headband. Angel appears after leaving a Student Council meeting midway, and prepares to fight her when she sees that there is no real threat because Shiina just thinks that the kitten is HIGHLY cute. Angel wonders how she will explain, and Yuri overhears, assuming she is going to see God to ask about the anomaly of their not disappearing. The SSS follows Angel, and eventually they reach the Gardening Club, where Angel outloud wonders how she will explain to the people in the meeting that she had just remembered about the turnips and had to leave. Yuri declares the operation a failure, and all SSS members face the her wrath by being forced to fast.
Note: This episode was released with the DVD's, and as an extra episode has no real place in the series. In the timeline of the series, it could take place somewhere between episodes 5 and 9 (more likely to be the episode after 4 but before 5, this is because there is no showing of Takeyama and Kanade is considered hostile towards the battlefront).
|OVA 2||"Hell's Kitchen"||June 24, 2015|
|Set between episodes two and three, during Golden Week, Yuri arranges for the SSS to go on a deadly picnic, which involves most of the members trying to kill each other with various traps and gadgets. As the boys largely fall victim to various traps, leaving just Otonashi alive, Girls Dead Monster members Miyuki and Shiori attempt to lead Iwasawa into various pitfalls, only for her to survive each one while remaining completely oblivious. They attempt to use their last trap, a dreadful concoction, but it instead lands on Hisako, who transforms into a blood-thirsty monster that not even Angel can stop.|
- The piano note A (specifically A440) is played during the eyecatches (the brief intermission before 2nd part of an episode) every time the Angel Beats! logo is shown.